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Butterfly effect lights up white launch party.

THE BRITISH Council was so white on Monday evening -- the walls, chairs and stage -- that Butterfly, Lahore's flightiest socialite, would have been appalled.

White, indeed, was everywhere at the launch of Tender Hooks , Moni Mohsin's second novel featuring Butterfly, who has graced her weekly column in The Friday Times of Pakistan for the last 20 years.

The launch party was a somewhat sombre affair because Salman Taseer, the slain governor of Pakistan's Punjab, was on everyone's mind. But the evening had its moments of levity, thanks to Seminar publisher and high priestess of the city's literati Malvika Singh, who was in her element in conversation with Mohsin, who's also a Mail Today columnist.

There was an entertaining laugh- out- loud reading by the ageing- very- gracefully author, and though dangerously bordering on what Butterfly would call " dull and boring" ( quite like her husband), the long discussion on the state of Pakistan was engaging in parts.

Mohsin, who can and should teach a lesson or two to the Capital's bleach- blonde butterflies, exuded the essence of Pakistani high life, which is always in vogue, no matter what the government in that country.

Mohsin's bottle- green outfit came as a welcome respite to the stark white surroundings.

The honours for the evening belonged as much to Singh as to Mohsin. When Random House India's editor- in- chief Chiki Sarkar introduced Singh saying she didn't need an introduction, she was promptly corrected by the subject of her remark. Singh said GenNext definitely would want to know who she was.

Then, as she waited for the book discussion to take off, she said, " The IFFCO chairman shot himself while cleaning his gun, imagine." The shadow of current developments was looming over the evening. Who says book readings are all about swilling wine and kissing in the air? The evening, of course, was soon owned by Mohsin as she started reading from her second novel. With her repertoire of Lahorisms -- " Good radiance"; " who who"; " baba!" and " only the bhooka nangas who do the bombing" -- Mohsin had everyone hooked despite her voice sinking a bit whenever she read out aloud.

The question- answer session, unfairly, was not about Mohsin's novel, but about the state of Pakistan.

It may have helped if there was wine to lighten the mood.

There was cranberry juice instead of merlot and apple juice filled in for sauvignon blanc.

Mohsin's presence, though, more than made up for the absence of headier stuff.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jan 19, 2011
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